Erie Canal Bicentennial Public Art Installation, RFP

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Request for Proposals Erie Canal Bicentennial Public Art Installation Canalside, Buffalo NY

Issued: May 31, 2022

IMPORTANT NOTICE: A restricted period under the Procurement Lobbying Law is currently in effect for this Procurement and it will remain in effect until approval of the Contract. Bidders are prohibited from contact related to this procurement with any New York State employee other than the designated contacts listed below (refer to: Section X - ii).

Designated Contacts for this Procurement: Primary Contact: Ralph Volcy Secondary Contact: John Discolo All contacts/inquiries shall be made by email to the following address:

This RFP is posted on the Empire State Development website: Submission

Deadline: July 14,2022 by 8:00PM EST

INTRODUCTION The mission of Empire State Development (“ESD”) is to promote a vigorous and growing state economy, encourage business investment and job creation, and support diverse, prosperous local economies across New York State through the efficient use of loans, grants, tax credits, real estate development, marketing and other forms of assistance.

II. OVERVIEW The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (“ECHDC”), a subsidiary of the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development (ESD), invites internationally and critically acclaimed artists to submit qualifications and proposals for The Erie Canal Bicentennial Public Art Installation at Canalside (the “Project”) in the City of Buffalo, NY. ECHDC seeks artists who can demonstrate the ability to design and implement heritage-focused public art commissions. ECHDC feels it is important to create high-quality and appealing public art components at Canalside and throughout the Buffalo Waterfront that will attract visitors but will also make the citizens of Buffalo proud of our history and the current redevelopment of our waterfront. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 was a critical event in the history of the United States, opening the heartlands of the continent. It also transformed Buffalo from a frontier village to the eighth-largest city in the United States over a span of just 75 years. The Western Terminus of the canal, at what is now Canalside, became a commercial hub and a transshipment point that moved rivers of immigration westward and rivers of cargo eastward – American Express and Wells Fargo were created on its docks, and the Canal District became a global trade center and, at the same time, notorious as one of the roughest waterfronts in the world. Through the Canal Era, Buffalo grew exponentially as many of the immigrants who arrived here by the canal – more than ever arrived at Ellis Island – settled here instead of continuing their journeys west. ECHDC is inviting artists to submit qualifications and proposals that prove their ability to work within the historic context while incorporating ECHDC’s vision to revitalize Western New York’s Waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance, and natural beauty. The current project budget is not to exceed $250,000. ECHDC has retained the services of an Art Consult who will facilitate the evaluation of qualification submission packages and will recommend to the ECHDC up to three (3) qualified artists based upon the evaluation criteria explained in this document. The three (3) “semi-final” artists will contract with the Art Consultant and receive a $10,000 stipend to complete their proposal. After public presentations and final evaluations, one artist or team will be selected for the commission. MWBE & SDVOB Subcontractor Interest New York State certified Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses (MWBEs) and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) may request that their firm’s contact information be included on a list of MWBE and SDVOB firms interested in serving as a subcontractor for this procurement. The listing will be publicly posted on ESD’s website for reference by the bidding 3 community. A firm requesting inclusion on this list should send contact information and a copy of its NYS MWBE or SDVOB certification to

Nothing prohibits an M/WBE Vendor from proposing as a prime contractor.

III. SCOPE OF WORK The Erie Canal Bicentennial Public Art Installation is to be designed for and incorporated into the historic Main Canal area of the property referred to as the Immigrant Steps and Towpath. The address of the Main Canal area is 130 Main Street, Buffalo NY. The installation will be permanent on the site and therefore should be fabricated using substantial materials that will resist deterioration from environmental impacts and public interaction. Canalside Location Map Immigrant Steps A flight of steps, re-created now in the Canalside development, was a pathway trod by millions of immigrants and immigrant families as they left the line boats they took from New York or Albany to climb to the streets of Buffalo, seeking to build a new life in the growing ethnic communities of Buffalo or hoping to book passage on a lake schooner or steamboat headed west on the Great Lakes. “Steamboat hotels” waited if they needed an overnight room, or in warm weather many slept on the docks. Most carried with them all they had in the world, small cargoes in this human river; money was tight, and carefully spent. There are no accurate counts of their numbers, but this migration built great cities on the Lakes and settled the interior of the country, in one year alone, 1859, a quarter million people left Buffalo for the West. Most of the immigrants from the Canal Era (1825 until the rise of the railroads in the 1880s) came from Ireland, Germany or Scandinavia. There were smaller streams from the American South during the Underground 4 Railroad years, and displaced Native Americans also used the canal in its early years to move west. Today’s “Immigrant Steps” honor the location of the original steps at the juncture of the Erie Canal’s end and the Commercial Slip that connected the canal to the Buffalo River and Great Lakes, but they are not an exact replica and are built for the present-day flow of people from street level to the faux canal at water level. The treads of the steps are solid granite with a thermal finish with a typical 6” rise and 12” tread depth. The landings at the top and mid-span are red sandstone slabs, 2’x3’ nominal dimension. The overall dimensions are 20.90’ wide at the top of the stairs and 45.40’ wide at the bottom with an overall length of 27.50’ including a 9.50’ landing mid span. Immigrant Stairs to Towpath Towpath The canal’s towpath, just above water level, was generally about four feet wide and extended the length of the canal, becoming a little more complex at destination wharf areas especially in the big city. It was used by drovers (or “hoggees”) driving the harnessed teams of horses or mules pulling the barges and boats along the canal. While wealthier passengers could disembark for the faster and more well-appointed packet boats plying the canals, immigrants would be packed up to a hundred at a time in the line or work boats. They could walk along the tow paths for parts of their journey, but doubtless were relieved to disembark at that journey’s end. They would have crossed the path to climb the steps, facing unknown new challenges with both apprehension and hope. They faced the unknown, because there was no way to send word ahead (except at the 5 last moment via the “runners” who touted hotels from the last few bridges, lowered buckets for room rent money and, sometimes, simply disappeared). Today’s “towpath” is a wide walkway used for pedestrian access to the amenities along the replicated end of the canal, a shallow water feature. The area is a year-round public space with fountain and paddle boats in the summer, ice rink activities; skating, curling, ice bikes, and food vendor kiosks and igloos in the winter, and roller skating in the fall. There is a pavilion tent used for events and equipment rentals. Seating is available and the area is regularly traversed by pedestrians moving throughout the Canalside neighborhood. The towpath sidewalk has a 10.80’ wide exposed aggregate concrete band around the perimeter of the replica canal with a 9.20’ outer band of tinted and scored concrete sidewalk. The towpath canal walls are constructed of granite with bush hammered top and rustic rock face on the vertical canal wall.

The Erie Canal Bicentennial Public Art Installation at Canalside selection process will be completed in three (3) stages:

● Stage 1- Submission of Qualifications

● Stage 2 – Development of Proposal & Model

● Stage 3 – Design & Implementation of Art Installation


IV. SCHEDULE OF DATES It is anticipated that a contract will be awarded in response to this RFP based on the following schedule:

Stage 1 – Submission of Qualifications Release of RFP May 31, 2022

Deadline for Submission of Questions June 7, 2022

Deadline for ECHDC to Respond to Questions June 14, 2022

Submission of Proposals (date and time) July 14, 2022 at 8:00PM EST

Proposal Review/Interviews July 15 - August 15 2022

Notification to Semi Final Artists August 16, 2022


Stage 2 – Development of Proposal Site Visits and Proposal Development August - October 2022

Submission of Proposals (date and time) December 6, 2022 at 2:00PM EST

Public Presentation February - March 2023

Final Selection by ECHDC April 2023

Stage 3 – Design & Implementation of Art Installation

Anticipated Contract Start Date* January 2, 2024 Fabrication and Installation Completion May 1, 2025

Please note, the Corporation reserves the right to change any of the dates stated in this RFP. 6 *Final schedule for design and installation stages to be negotiated at the time of contract execution. However, it is expected the installation will be completed between March 1 – May 1, 2025.


V. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS Every respondent to this RFP (“Bidder”) should submit a proposal which clearly and concisely provides all of the information requested. Emphasis should be concentrated on conformance to the RFP instructions and requirements, as well as completeness and clarity in its proposal response. The Bidder is advised to thoroughly read and follow all instructions contained in this RFP. Proposals that do not comply with these instructions or do not meet the full intent of all the requirements of this RFP may be subject to scoring reductions during the evaluation process or may be deemed non-responsive. Artists are strongly encouraged to conduct independent research based on the information provided as well as visit the project location. The artist is expected and required to attend the artwork dedication event in person if and when such an event takes place. 

Prize Summary: 
project budget 250,000, 3 finalists receive $10,000 stipend
Canalside, Buffalo, NY

Entry Fee:

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Spanish Harlem Creative Movement Fest

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Spanish Harlem Creative Movement Fest is a dance festival that celebrates the culture of Latinos in America, and their place in it, reflecting the diversity that Latin America culture embodies. It will feature six dance artists with hybrid choreographic practices, who hold the stories of lived cultural experiences of Latinos in America. Those danced stories will give life to the visual power of storytelling, unfolding emotions in motion with performative elements. September 2022. Open call from April 04 to May 10 (check Guidelines and application on our web site).

Spanish Harlem or El Barrio, it is one of the largest predominantly Hispanic communities in New York City.

We are accepting submissions from those choreographers/dance artists who explore a range of narratives of Latino culture, including current issues such as: immigration, forced displacement, identity, and transculturation. The selected dance works must be relevant, innovative, and should explore hybrid choreographic practices (combining dance movements with other forms/styles, including physical-theater, mime, video or incorporating performative methods on stage). The 6 selected dance artists will receive generous tech support (each choreographer will have up to 3 hrs tech rehearsal). And each choreographer/dance troupe would receive a flat rate of $500 per choreography/dance work. Festival run from Sep 15 to Sep 18 / 2022 at El Barrio's Artspace, Manhattan - NY

Prize Summary: 
Prizes Details: 

The 6 selected dance artists will receive generous tech support (each choreographer will have up to 3 hrs tech rehearsal). And each choreographer/dance troupe would receive a flat rate of $500 per choreography/dance work


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Fee Detail: 
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Dreamland Global Adventure Course - Call for Proposals



Dreamland is pleased to announce the development of a brand new Global Adventure Course as an addition to its two highly successful mini golf courses: Dream Course & Challenge Course. Dreamland is a new one-of-a-kind outdoor entertainment, recreation and arts venue in Dripping Springs 30 minute outside of Austin, Texas. Located on 64 acres in the Texas Hill Country, Dreamland offers an oasis of outdoor sports, music, stunning visual arts, diverse food, and a beer garden and tap room with an expertly curated variety of beer and wine from all over the region.

For this project, mini golf experts Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman will be joining us to help curate, oversee and manage the creation of the Global Adventure course. They have been working internationally on their mini golf endeavor A Couple of Putts ( The duo have built and designed a number of holes and courses across the planet for a good part of the last 10 years and they both made a big splash on Season 1 of ABC’s primetime competitive mini golf show, Holey Moley. They've played over 350 miniature golf courses around the globe.

DESCRIPTION: Art and Design merge with Miniature Golf in this open call for amazing designs inspired by landmarks and cultures from countries around the world.

ELIGIBILITY: Individuals submitting mini golf hole designs for consideration may live anywhere and have any background; entrants may include artists, architects, engineers, landscape architects, furniture designers, mini golf lovers, students, immigrants, locals, etc. Special consideration will be given to first generation immigrants and people who currently live in the country they are submitting from.

SUBMISSIONS: Will be accepted from either individuals or teams. Collaborations are encouraged. Individuals or teams may submit more than one entry, but each design proposal requires a separate submission. 

Please fill out this form including your contact info, the name of the hole, a 2-5 sentence description of your concept and up to 5 support images including sketches, drawings, 3D models, etc.

THEME: The theme of the Global Adventure Course is “Immigration” - The U.S. is home to millions of immigrants that make up around 15% of our population and bring rich culture and diversity to our country. Hole designs may be inspired by landmarks and cultures from countries where many U.S. immigrants come from including but not limited to:

Mexico, Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua/El Salvador/Guatemala, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, England, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Sweden, China, Japan, Philippines, India, Australia, New Zealand and more.

Submissions are encouraged to be fun, creative and incorporate the theme in any manner appropriate for their proposal—dream big! While you may draw inspiration from anywhere, please be sure not to use any proprietary, copyrighted or trademarked symbols or characters in your proposal. 

SELECTION PROCESS: Proposals will be selected on a rolling basis for inclusion in Dreamland’s Global Adventure Course based upon the following criteria:  

Concept: This includes originality of the design, playfulness and relationship to the immigration and global theme.  

Feasibility: Proposals will be evaluated on the perceived feasibility of its design for real-world construction and use. However, if we love your concept, we will work with you to design it into a realistically playable mini golf hole. So, dream big!

STIPEND: The main round of entries will be due by midnight CST on July 4th, 2021. Members of the Dreamland Global Adventure Course team will jury entries submitted for inclusion in the course.

Our favorite design will win the Grand Prize of $2500 and will be used on the course.

Our 2nd and 3rd favorite designs will win an Honorable Mention prize of $1000 each and will be used on the course. 

All other selected entries to be used on the course will receive a $500 stipend as compensation for time and ideas.

After the July 4th deadline, we will accept submissions on a rolling basis, however entries submitted after July 4th, 2021 will not be eligible for the Grand Prize or Honorable Mention prizes. If the jury chooses to build an entry submitted after the July 4th deadline, you will still receive a $500 stipend as compensation for time and ideas.

BUILDING SPECIFICATIONS: Each hole is expected to withstand direct exposure to the elements as well as an enthusiastic, club-wielding public of all ages. Any suggested materials, structures, or components deemed hazardous or too fragile will be rejected or changed at the discretion of the Global Adventure Course team. The minimum size for each hole should be 10’ x10’. Proposed hole designs may be larger. Dream big!

The Global Adventure Course team will be involved in all aspects of course design and construction and may choose to alter designs as they see fit for the course. We will stay in communication with designers about any changes that will be made in order to honor the original concept that was submitted. 

INFO SESSION: An information session will be held for those interested in learning more about the project, constructing a proposal, and who have other considerations or questions about the Global Adventure Course. This information session is highly recommended for anyone considering submitting a proposal, and it will take place virtually at 7pm CST on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021.

June 2nd Zoom link:


April 28, 2021- Call Opens

June 2nd, 2021 - Virtual Info Session

July 4, 2021 - Proposals Due  

September 2021 - Winning entries selected 

Fall 2021 to Winter 2022 - Course Construction

Spring 2022 - Time to tee off! 

If you have any questions please e-mail

Prizes Details: 

The main round of entries will be due by midnight CST on July 4th, 2021. Members of the Dreamland Global Adventure Course team will jury entries submitted for inclusion in the course.

Our favorite design will win the Grand Prize of $2500 and will be used on the course.

Our 2nd and 3rd favorite designs will win an Honorable Mention prize of $1000 each and will be used on the course. 

All other selected entries to be used on the course will receive a $500 stipend as compensation for time and ideas.

After the July 4th deadline, we will accept submissions on a rolling basis, however entries submitted after July 4th, 2021 will not be eligible for the Grand Prize or Honorable Mention prizes. If the jury chooses to build an entry submitted after the July 4th deadline, you will still receive a $500 stipend as compensation for time and ideas.


Entry Fee:

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ZEST Hall is a virtual gallery hosted by Round Lemon. We aim to contribute even more to the cultural life by organising an exhibition once every three months. Every show will last 12 weeks. The submissions will be open 6 week before the exhibition launch, and will close after 4 weeks.

CURRENT EXHIBITION: EARTH (September 28th - December 28th 2020)

Theme: Earth

The purpose of this show is to make a selection of artists from all around the world that associates their practice with Earth, including artworks that conceptualise ethical issues about ecology, climate change (e.g. waste, pollution, recycling, natural resources), animal rights, world cultures, religion and beliefs (e.g. extra-terrestrial), immigration, and human development. This exhibition opens on the 28th of September, 2020.

DEADLINE: Monday 7th September, at 12 noon BST.

Applications are welcome from individual artists, groups of artists, art collectives, etc. (must be at least 18 years old). Participation in the exhibition is through a selection process. Artworks are selected based on relevance to the theme, quality and artistic integrity. Artists are invited to submit up to 3 pieces of work.


Entry Fee:

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